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Old 07/28/10, 11:10 AM
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Sterilizing jars for canning

Hey peeps,

I'm new here, but have been hanging around and commenting here occasionally. I have a question for all you canners!

How do you sterilize your jars for canning?

I used to boil mine like the BBB and all canning sites recommend, but my aunt taught me a method years back which I love.

Set your oven to about 220 and fill it full of clean washed jars. They're ready for the filling process at any time. The temperature gets higher than boiling so you can kill any bacteria. You could go higher, but you need to let the jars cool a bit when you take them out to fill.

I made this suggestion on another site and the moderator fired back that you should NEVER CAN IN THE OVEN. Of course, I never suggested that. I suggested STERILIZATION in the oven only. He wrote back again saying there are hot and cold spots in the oven and it's still dangerous and yadda yadda yadda.

I wrote back and told him I've been doing it for years, it works just fine, and my pound cake doesn't know the difference between the hot and cold spots which he claims are in my oven.

He didn't respond.

I know it works and I've never had a jar break as a result. I HAVE had jars break in the canner. But that had nothing to do with the sterilization. I just think it frees up your stovetop and you don't need an additional pot boiling. Maybe I'm nuts, but this seems so efficient. Any comments on this method? Anyone ever tried it?

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Old 07/28/10, 11:24 AM
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I have never done that- in fact I don't even can anymore. But I can see that, with lots of variables in ovens, the man had a point. In some old ovens, I have had baked good like cookies burn in some spots while not being done in others.
You would probably be ok 99.999 % of the time but boiling water is pretty uniform and timing it is easy. Simply a little more fool proof.

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  #3  
Old 07/28/10, 11:53 AM
 
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I place my jars in the oven, and like the fact that when I take them out they are ready to go. Won't be changing my practice anytime soon and I feel that I follow canning rules very carefully.

Lillian

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  #4  
Old 07/28/10, 12:00 PM
 
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I use the hot water method.
My neighbor uses the oven method is pleased.

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Old 07/28/10, 12:03 PM
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The canning jar manufacturer doesn't recommend putting jars in the oven. They aren't made for that kind of dry heat.

In fact you don't need to sterilize the jars, although you can if you prefer it. They should of course be clean. They become sterile during the canning process. The Ball Book even gives precessing times based on clean or sterile jars. For jams the difference is only 5 mins.

From the NCHFP:

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/questions/FAQ_canning.html#6


Is it necessary to sterilize jars before canning?

Jars do not need to be sterilized before canning if they will be filled with food and processed in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes or more or if they will be processed in a pressure canner. Jars that will be processed in a boiling water bath canner for less than 10 minutes, once filled, need to be sterilized first by boiling them in hot water for 10 minutes before they're filled.

top ^

Is it safe to process food in the oven?

No. This can be dangerous because the temperature will vary according to the accuracy of oven regulators and circulation of heat. Dry heat is very slow in penetrating into jars of food. Also, jars explode easily in the oven.

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  #6  
Old 07/28/10, 12:11 PM
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Thanks for the responses. My only concern is that pressure canning kills bacteria that boiling won't because of the higher temp of the steam - Which is great!
But for fruit... 212' isn't high enough to kill all bacteria, but 220 or 230 is!
Guess I have a OCD with my jars.
Glad to see someone does something similar - Lilly.

But just to be clear, I'm not suggesting PROCESSING in the oven, only sterilization.

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Last edited by Osiris; 07/28/10 at 12:21 PM.
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  #7  
Old 07/28/10, 01:15 PM
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I do the oven thing with water in the jars because I just don't have enough room on the stove top to boil the jars, keep the water bath going and have a pot of whatever is about to be canned, plus the rings and lids in hot water all at once. I like having the free space on the stove top with the jars in the oven.

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  #8  
Old 07/28/10, 01:16 PM
 
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I still sterilize mine in a boiling water bath for at least 10-15 min. I sterilize the rings, too, and put the lids in towards the end. When I fill the jars back up, I have all this hot water ready to put them in for the processing part. I agree that dry heat is probably not good for jars. I've been canning for years now - haven't gotten sick yet from any 'germs'. For pressure canning I take some of the hot water from sterilizing and put that into the pressure canner, and as I fill up the jars I put them into the canner. By now the water is warm, not hot, and when everything is ready to go, I put the pressure lid on and proceed with pressure canning.

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Old 07/28/10, 01:30 PM
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Just to reiterate what was already posted above - jars do not need to be sterilized unless they are used for something that will be processed for less than 10 mins. If the food filled jars will be processed for 10 mins. or longer - either in a BWB or a pressure canner - then only heating of the jars, not sterilizing is required.

Lids should never be boiled as that weakens the sealing compound. They only need to be heated.

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Old 07/28/10, 02:31 PM
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I use two old church type coffee pots. (THats what I call them as they were alwasy at all the church suppers.
They stay at about 185-190

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  #11  
Old 07/28/10, 03:26 PM
 
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I also need to add that I only heat the oven to 170 (lowest temp) and it is just basiclly to keep my jars warm.

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Old 07/28/10, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judylou View Post
..... then only heating of the jars, not sterilizing is required.

Lids should never be boiled as that weakens the sealing compound. They only need to be heated.
Got it. Judy

Most of my processing is at least 15 minutes in a BWB. Most is fruit jams. I always go 5 minutes over the recommended boiling. The jars seal as they come out of the canner if the water is really deep. My 1/2 pints have about 3 inches of water over them. As I'm pulling them out they're clicking!

Music to my ears.
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Old 07/28/10, 04:51 PM
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I run all mine trrough the dish washer in pots & pans & strile wrinse -

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  #14  
Old 07/28/10, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judylou View Post
Just to reiterate what was already posted above - jars do not need to be sterilized unless they are used for something that will be processed for less than 10 mins. If the food filled jars will be processed for 10 mins. or longer - either in a BWB or a pressure canner - then only heating of the jars, not sterilizing is required.

Lids should never be boiled as that weakens the sealing compound. They only need to be heated.
I, like many, don't have room on my stove to boil my jars along with everything else. Since learning that sterilization is not a requirement I now just put mine in a sink of hot water with a few spoonfuls of bleach (jars, not lids). Lids I still simmer as I don't trust the bleach with the rubber. I use the bleach to satisfy my "need" to do something to be sure they are still clean. Since washing toys in the day care center with bleach water was good enough, I figured it was fine for my glass jars, too.
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  #15  
Old 07/28/10, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mullberry View Post
I run all mine trrough the dish washer in pots & pans & strile wrinse -
I do this too, and pull the hot jars out of the dishwasher one by one to fill up (most recently was jam)
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  #16  
Old 07/29/10, 08:15 AM
 
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I wash jars in the dishwasher; the drying cycle keeps them warm until I need them. If running the dishwasher isn't convenient, I just wash my jars in soap and hot water, and then cover them with more clean, hot water in the sink.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio dreamer View Post
I now just put mine in a sink of hot water with a few spoonfuls of bleach (jars, not lids). Lids I still simmer as I don't trust the bleach with the rubber.
Yipe. What about the bleach in your food? Bleach is a caustic chemical and shouldn't be used anywhere near food. You can't rinse the jars enough to get all of that awful stuff out of there.

Soap and hot water are good enough for cleaning canning jars. They don't need to be sterilized, and God knows they don't need to sit in a stinking bath of poisonous chemicals.

If your recipes call for the product to be processed for five minutes, skip the sterilization process and process for 10 minutes. Simple as that.
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  #17  
Old 07/29/10, 11:13 AM
 
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When working as a housekeeper in a Nursing home we were taught that Bleach only STERILIZES in Cold water and WHITENS in Hot...don't know if that's 'fact'.
I heat/warm my jars in either the BWB or Pressure canner, which ever one I'm using for the actual canning. I have a VERY small kitchen with very little countertop and I still manage. It seems to me that using the oven to heat jars is a real waste of energy...course maybe the oven users live where electric bills are small. (I wish mine were small.)

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Old 08/05/10, 12:26 PM
 
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Bleach dissipates. It is one of the oldest techniques for sterilizing.

When my hubby was stationed in Italy they used human manure and the US Navy had them wash their lettuce and other veggies in a light bleach water to prevent disease.

I had a neighbor a few years back who had a severe heart problem and his doctor had his wife add a cap full of bleach to her dishwater.

It is perfectly safe to use. If you get city water than you already have a small amount of it in your water. And yes it rinses off.

That being said you do not need to sterilize your jars unless your recipe calls for it or your item is going straight in the fridge or you are not processing it in a canner.

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Old 08/05/10, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by NostalgicGranny View Post
Bleach dissipates. It is one of the oldest techniques for sterilizing.
.....
I had a neighbor a few years back who had a severe heart problem and his doctor had his wife add a cap full of bleach to her dishwater.
G'ma always put a cap full in the dishwater when anyone in the house had the flu. We use it then, too. It's amazing stuff.

Bleach water is what the health department required us to wash all the toys in when I worked in day care. We'd wash during nap time as the bleach would be all dissipated by the time the kids got up. It's really safer then a bunch of the chemicals restaurants use to clean. I did food service in a camp one summer, after seeing what they clean with (same stuff I saw in the restaurants I help remodel the summers before) I'm not too big on eating out!
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Last edited by Ohio dreamer; 08/05/10 at 03:01 PM.
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  #20  
Old 08/05/10, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by marinemomtatt View Post
When working as a housekeeper in a Nursing home we were taught that Bleach only STERILIZES in Cold water and WHITENS in Hot...don't know if that's 'fact'.
Nope, not a fact...I have plenty of clothes that were "whitened" in cold! It sterilizes in either hot or cold as well.
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